THE FINALS WRAP – WEEK I

WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  First we had the magnificent effort of The Feeling Faints who discounted the price tag The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires had put on their The Pradas.  Then – and how dare they – The Stevedores hosed down any thoughts The Mayblooms had of September Glory.  Only Carringbush performed as The Pundits & Punters expected, leaving The Kennel Coughs with a mountainous vet’s bill and a Home Final against Steak & Kidney next Saturday night.  While up in Tinseltown, The Locals held on in an absolute thriller to ensure an early exit for The Erectile Dysfunctionals.

Maggot Watch.  QF 2 – St Kilda v Geelong.  Great game from maggots Ryan, Stevic & Rosebury.  We could have been looking at the GF team on Friday night.  Plenty of drama, and certainly favoured the underdog.  Inconsistency was paramount in the decision to deny the Ling goal.  In the context of the match it wasn’t a free kick.  In the context of The Game where Life Imitates Sport it was.  Life’s not about right or being fair – it’s how you cope with it, and that’s what’s so good about Our Great Game.  BTW, there should have been a 50m penalty paid against Geelong for playing on, but m. Stevic’s nerve failed him at the crucial moment and he settled for 30 seconds of Geelong euphoria before snapping the celebrations of the ecstatic Kardinia Oval Faithful, and throwing The Sainters a lifeline.  Our favourite moment in those tense dying stages came when the ball was locked on the St Kilda attacking flank.  St Riewoldt contested three boundary throw-ins and won each one – sending the ball straight back over the boundary line.  Now aren’t you free kicked for deliberate OOB on the 3rd one of those?  And we’re sure we saw Lenny Hayes kick the ball away from a boundary umpire, to gain some breathing space and give his team a chance to man up, without being freed.  Well may Coach Bailey say, “There was a free kick there, no doubt about it”.  For overall performance, you’d like to think that Greg Westaway would be moving Heaven & Earth to book those three blind mice for TLSIS .

Maggot Watch II.  From Ballarat, the home, of so many AFL greats, Maggot McInerney has broken away from the pack in this year’s Harry Beitzel Medal.  With his masterly Ground Control to Major Tom soliloquy, he single handily kept us entertained for three & a half minutes while he sorted out the protocol after a Carlton interchange infringement.  As it turned out, the behind scored at the time of the incident was twice reversed, and in the context of the match, could have turned out to be a very handy point.  Shane, we thought, not only handled the situation extremely well, but added theatre to the occasion, and our cousin from Milan couldn’t believe how inclusive the refereeing was in Australian Football.  But let it be asked right here and now – could this cost someone a Grand Final one day?

If you don’t mind Umpire I.  When is Maggot Central going to come to grips with rabbitting and the frontal spoil?  Let’s take rabbitting first – the action of ducking the head into the tackle while carrying the ball.  If the idea is to protect the sacrosanct head, then shouldn’t the player placing his own head in danger be pinged to discourage this dangerous practice?  We’ve interviewed the Mothers of Melbourne on the matter and they’ve suggested an electronic helmet that records any contact at the central computer and recognizes the player who made the contact with the helmet.  While we’re probably not ready for that as this stage of our evolutionary journey, the players who are grabbing the ball from the scrimmages and diving into the nearest opposition armpit should be umpired out the game.  One of Stevie J’s lives with us for the sheer barefaced audacity of its execution, but there were others.  And the front on tackle?  How many times are you frustrated by the clean, eyes-only-for-the ball spoil that earns a free for the spoilee?  Come on Geisha, get out your Bruce Andrews Handbook and look up the chapter on the Spirit of The Game.  Spoiling from the front without making crude body contact is an art.  It should be rewarded with a ‘play-on’ call, not a whistle and penalty.

If you don’t mind Umpire II.  Are we the only ones to have given up on the ball disposal adjudication?  The Carlton Skipper was at it again on Sunday.  Some of his two handed disposals would have made Dally Messenger swell in admiration.  How poetic was it that later in the game The Juddanaught was dumped in a spear tackle the maggots promptly awarded against the Raheen & Visy Park brass plate polisher for holding the ball.

The Coaches’ Carousel was putting out a brighter tune on Friday night.  Were we the only ones to pick it up?  Just after Nasty Milne’s 2nd goal the camera swung to the Geelong Coaching Box.  Bomber, with head in hands, was visibly brightened when an arm reached over his shoulder and placed a sheet of A4 in front of him.  A Heads of Agreement with the EFC?  Maybe there is something to the rumours.  Don’t take, my word for it, re-wind the tape and take a goosy gander for yourself.

Commentator Watch.  After Dennis-Lane Richo said how impressed he was with him.  “I don’t know much about him.  This is the 1st time I’ve seen him live”, intoned the Tiger Legend.  No it isn’t Richo.  You were on the boundary line when he missed three easy shots against The Tiges back in Round XIV.  But everyone’s favourite Bluebagger, Andy Maher topped the list this week.  “Knights’ dismissal came as no surprize, but it happened so quickly”.  Please explain Andrew.  How long does it take to day Don’t Come Monday?

At the time of writing the EFC is as leaderless as the Nation.  Turned by the media, images clink into focus like some giant public kaleidoscope.  Chokko, Richardson, The Junkyard Dog, Lloydy & Hirdy to wax the job on a weekly rotation, Ric Charlesworth, Christopher Scott, Kelli Underwood.  After bringing Essendon to its knees twice in his lifetime,* Matty Knights has cleaned out his desk and waits for his bonus to be paid.  His job done, he rides off into the sunset ……

Old Carey’s F Troop (a.k.a. the Carey Fairies – Ed) have provided us with plenty of cheap shots over the years, but a Bangkok correspondent has pointed out that they have slipped under everyone’s radar and now move up into A Grade after beating Old Haileybury in the B Grade GF.

From down on the eastern shores of Port Phillip, where Sylvania Waters meets Desperate Housewives, we have been given the latest cricket scores from the Sub-Continent.  India beat Pakistan by 5 wickets in Mumbai next Wednesday.  Keep ‘em coming Andy.

But enough of my gabbin.  It’s dropout time for some.  Let’s see who got the gun in the 1st Weekend of a September to Remember.

The Team To Beat For The Flag v The Junction Oval Seagulls. Where do we start?  St Kilda’s relentless tacking pressure?  The umpiring decision that ended an era?  The inaccuracy of both sides?  Nasty Milne coming good in a big match?  The Glorious Spring Rains that will make for a lush track on the 1st Tuesday of November and a bumper harvest in December?  Let’s start with Saint Kilda.  They should have had this all wrapped up by the Long Break.  Their relentless tackling pressure – and here I borrow from a colleague – dismantled The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires.  Their aerial dominance smothered them.  With reports all day of a rain belt crossing Victoria sometime through the later part of the night, it was imperative to grab a healthy lead in the dry and defend it in the wet.  And it was The Feeling Faints that followed through on this strategy.  However, the True Believers down at The Culture Club would have been bemoaning some rancid kicking on goal.  With any sort of proficient, their 20-point lead could/should have been 30-40 points.  In a Richoesque performance The Big Fella would have been proud of, the St Kilda Captain was the main culprit (3-1-3 for the night).  But when he kicked the 1st major of the 2nd Half, and with the rain starting to fall, it looked like the cavalry had arrived for The Saints.  Not so; it was The Moggies that relished the wet conditions, and it was the Moggies who made the most of it and all but won the match with that late Ling goal that was disallowed.  Now before you get too excited about that, consider the sliding toe poked goal from Mooney that Zac Dawson touched?  Yes, the Iconic Zac again.  Last year a poor goal maggoting decision cost The Saints a Flag.  Who amongst TLSJOF foresaw with foreboding that here was another goal maggot call that could put them on the back foot for September?  But anyone who sides with Richard Dawkins – that God doesn’t exist – should have been at The G on Friday night.  How many times did soft free kicks on goal veer off the main opening?  The re-called Ling goal was justice not only being done, but being seen to be done – in compensation for the goal that Zac touched.  But didn’t you just love Moon Doggie telling the adjudication maggot that he had just cost them the game?  (Are you sure it was Cameron saying that and not Joe the Cameraman” – Ed)  And there are many who would agree with Moon Doggie that – in the context of the match – there was no free kick in it.   And not all of them Geelong Supporters either.  But that’s done & dusted and The Pussies have The Anchormen on Friday Night.  The Seagulls await the outcome of the Footscray & South Melbourne Semi Final.

The Barry Crockers v The Wavering Hawks.  As Roughie Richoed another sitter after the ½ Time Siren, Quarters said it all. – “that sums up Hawthorn’s day”.  Always a sound barometer of Hawthorn’s state of mind, the site of  Roughie later bouncing a marking opportunity off his chest must have sunk a few hearts in the Leafy East.  It was a bleak day for the Family Club and one could be excused for suggesting that an end-of-season family conference might help clear the air at Ausdoc Oval.  A two year Premiership Hangover, in medical quarters, would imply an ongoing addiction rather than a short-term curable infliction.  Luke Hodge couldn’t shake off the close attention of McPhee, their forward line was dysfunctional and their kicking efficiency and general ball control was lamentable in a game they should have been well and truly set for.  One goal 11 behinds in ½ a game of football on a dry day is not BKIBF.  It’s sheer laziness.  If you doubt it, check the inside 50s.  The Hawks had 10 more than The Dockers but still fell five goals shy.  They even had four more shots on goal.  True, the surface was loose, and Riolli & Ellis were off early with match ending injuries, but their opponents had been devastated by injury in the closing stages of the Home&Away series and on the day they were forced to rest their match winning ruckmen in the forward pocket to keep four on-ballers changing through the bench.  This Fremantle side is developing the sort of character that epitomized the teams of South & East Fremantle, from whom they borrowed their AFL moniker & Rosella-like colours.  These two feared WAFL clubs have won 42 Premierships.  That’s right: 42 between them – 13 & 29 respectively.  Up only four goals at the Long Break, Freo would have had reason to fear a Hawthorn Onslaught.  But it was never mounted.  The Dockers kicked six goals to The Mayblooms’ three when it counted – in the Premiership Quarter.  The Leafblowers would have been fired up when The Squawkers kick three successive majors to open the Final Stanza, but it was only a bit of damage control.  In the end The Longshoremen cruised to a comfortable win in front of their Knowledgeable Supporters.  They have TRP next Friday Night on The Big Stage.  For The Softcock Hawkers, it’s looking like a very long and dark summer coming up.

The Mighty Magpies v The Sons of The West.  Were we watching another step in the Good Old Collingwood’s’ Cakewalk, or the demise of Footscray as a credible September Contender?  From the first bounce it was all Carringbush.  When Griffen put Ball into the pickets at a boundary line contest the Magpie players were queued up to let him know that if you took on one player in Black&White Verticals you took them all on.  From then to when Addison’s off break from the pocket broke to leg in the goal mouth, prompting Sam Lane’s Dad to comment ”It went the wrong way, just like everything else for the Bulldogs tonight”, it was an ugly night; an ugly night for The Sons of The West.  Actually Tim Lane would have been justified in saying like everything else since The Doggies won The Jinx Cup back in February.  Crippled by injuries and dispirited by Self Doubt, they face Sydney on The People’s Ground on Saturday night.  Their captain put in a shocker and all their Coach could come up with when asked what he planned to do about next week was “We’ll just keep plugging along”.  In all fairness, he would have been totally ripped apart inside by his Team’s sub-optimum performance on the night.  For The Cakewalkers, it’s a week’s wait to see who they have to beat to test the virility of their new Collywobbles vaccine.  They hardly put a foot wrong and were all class where class was called for and all GAD in between.  Dane Swan was superb, Daisy Thomas’s one hand pick-up at full tilt with the pack breathing down his neck was as breathlessly audacious as Diddums Didak’s small forward Master Class later in the game.  Hard pressed on the boundary, he turned his opponent inside out and steered a left foot slice over the goal umpire’s hat.  He honestly looked around for a teammate in a better position.  (Something KB never manager to do in 403 games – Ed)  It’s not sure whether he saw one, but when you slot the goal no one says you should have passed it to so & so standing unguarded 20m out.  It’s cameos like that that make OGG such a breathless spectacle.  The Woodsmen have staked their claim to 2010 and await the outcome of Geelong v Fremantle.

Oh Eddie, BTW, I got the clearance pass and the bloke at the grill let me in, but I couldn’t find the Refund Desk.  But not to worry, I found a nice bunch of blokes in the workshop making number plates.  They said they knew you and they explained that they could solve the problem; they do it all the time.  In fact there’s been a bit of a rush on but they could fit me in since I’d gone to all that trouble to find the Refund Desk.  When I got my Carringbush Bandwagon Tix back they had added a Red Bar to them and the word Carringbush had been replaced with Long Suffering Junction Oval Faithful.  Thanks for your help on that.

The Bloods v The Miseries.  The flags are at Half Mast once more along La Via Lygon as once more The Miseries make an early exit from September. Their Skipper blames inaccuracy – and a 5-8 2nd Half (Including a 1-6 Final Stanza – Ed) suggests some truth in his call.  But The Swans had raised the twin calicos on four occasions before Walker slotted The Blues 1st major, and a four goal lead is not something you spot a fancied opponent in a cutthroat match on their home turf.  Just as well they did get that early break  because The Bluebagger unleashed a withering championship Quarter and were five points up at the Citrus Huddle.  Then the wheels came off, or the Football Gods intervened.  Although a heartrending string of simple misses exhausted The Miseries, it didn’t seem to matter at the time; it was hard to see where Sydney’s next score was going to come from.  Then The Harboursiders found their composure.  Trent Dennis-Lane received a handball in the goalsquare and converted.  Not long after, he caught Armfield running out of the defensive pocket.  The Carlton utility tried the Bartlett defence and bounced the ball, but was brought down in a classic tackle.  TDL promptly drilled the difficult shot to give him 4-1-1 for the day in a six possession performance that included 2 tackles and a clearance.  A big step up from his début game against The Tigers in which he missed several easy shots in a match Richmond won narrowly.  But this was a great match, despite its late weekend billing and supposed one-sidedness – The Blues were quoted at $2.95.  It had everything, a breakaway, a comeback, umpiring controversy, theatre, drama, and a popular win for two of The Games most Respected Sons – the retiring Captain & Coach of the Sydney/South Melbourne Swans.  Who didn’t rise in their seats at the old fashioned and perfectly legal shirtfront on The Blues’ Richard Hadley by Shane Mumford?  Whom wasn’t bemused and amused by m. McInerney’s efforts to get it right on Carlton’s interchange infringement?  Who didn’t take Trent Dennis-Lane to their hearts for his lion-sized effort from a lamb-sized body?  Who didn’t admire Judd for his leading-from-the front Championship Quarter effort?  Either side deserved to win, and has been the trend all weekend, the side getting the rub of the umpiring went on to win.  They face The Sons of The West at THOF on Friday Night to decide who will play The Sainters in The Penultimate Final in a fortnight.  The Silvertails slip back to Royal parade to analyse their season and plan for 2011.

And remember, if you read it in The Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.

* In the 1995 2nd Semi Final, Richmond played Essendon.  Sheedy had whinged about having to play the No-body Tigers on the wide open spaces of Arctic Park and suggested that a bye would be an appropriate decision from Jellymont House, so Essendon would go straight into the Preliminary Final.  He finally settled for a game on the user friendly MCG.  By Half Time The Bombers were six goals up and cruising.  Matty Knights, single handily had kept the gap to six – as it turned out – very chaseable goals.  Scott Turner ruffled a few Bomber Playmakers and The Knights Led Tigers stole the match.  Swoops Northey came down from the old coach’s box at the G waving his RFC bomber jacket over his head Sheedy style.  Exit Essendon.

About John Mosig

I’m an Aussie Rules tragic who can remember, as a four year old, shaking the hand of Captain Blood in the rooms just before he ran out onto the ground after half time, as my Old Man slipped him a packet of under-the-counter Craven A cork tipped. Now it’s my turn to take my grandson Ben through the ritual of character building that is the journey through PUNT ROAD to the outside world.

Comments

  1. ‘Erectile dysfunctionals’.

    Nice one John. There is a big chance of me indulging in a little plagiarism later on this week.

  2. John Mosig says:

    Be my guest Phanto. It’s called constructive research initiative where I come from. Besides, the more we use it the harder it will stick.

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